No other vehicle in India, priced lesser than `20lakh, will attract as much attention—on the road and off it — as a Mahindra Thar would. This retro-modern vehicle that’s got the heritage cult looks and the performance of a modern-day SUV is available in two engine options (petrol and diesel), two gearbox options (six-speed manual and six-speed automatic), two seating arrangements (four front-facing seats and 2+4 side-facing seats) and three roof options (hardtop, convertible top and soft top). This new Thar was unveiled on August 15 and will be launched on October 2. We drive it in and around Delhi.
The new Thar gets multiple rooftop options: a hardtop, a soft-top and a convertible top. The cabin is completely redesigned — it’s not yet in the league of the Scorpio, but is far better than that of the previous Thar. Major changes include LED daytime running lamps, dual-tone bumpers, new 18-inch wheels, front fog lamps, and faux carbon-fibre detailing around the AC vents and centre bezel. Yet, despite all these changes, the Thar doesn’t really look contemporary.
The two engines are the 2.0-litre mStallion TGDi petrol engine (150 bhp; 320 Nm), and the 2.2-litre mHawk diesel (130 bhp; 320 Nm). Both are offered with either a six-speed manual transmission or six-speed torque converter automatic transmission, with a 4×4 manual shift transfer case with a low ratio.
The suspension is amazing off the road, and decent on it. Body-on-frame construction means there is a lot of body roll when taking sharp turns or off the road. The ground clearance is 226mm.
Everyday convenience features include sporty front seats (but these are too narrow),front-facing rear seats, roof-mounted speakers (but the sound quality is very poor), height-adjustable driver seat, tilt-adjustable steering wheel, power windows and central locking.
The 18-cm touchscreen infotainment with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, USB and navigation looks from the last century, and the adventure statistics display on the infotainment system isn’t clear in bright sunlight. It also gets the tyre-pressure and tyre-direction monitoring system, as well as cruise control and steering-mounted audio and phone controls.
The charm of owning a vehicle such as the Thar is not something everyone can connect to. It isn’t as comfortable as a car, it isn’t as fast, and it can be more cumbersome to live with. At the same time, the Thar can easily take you where most cars cannot and, in an urban environment, it offers you exclusivity.
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